Smart phones, smart speakers, smart cars
now coming smart print factories!

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The IGAS 2018 – one of the largest systematically organized events in the printing industry and the related industries – will provide opportunities for the participants to present the latest machines, technologies, and services and will serve as a venue for energetic business communications for smart factories.

Japan Printing Machinery Association (JPMA) and Japan Association of Pre-Press & Digital Printing Systems Suppliers recently hosted a media conference to present a glimpse of the upcoming IGAS 2018. IGAS 2018 (International Graphic Arts Show 2018) will be held at the Tokyo Big Sight from July 26-31, 2018.

IGAS 2018: an overview

Makoto Nishioka, Executive Director of the JPMA, gave an outline of the exhibition, sharing that the show will include 2,605 booths, showcasing 285 exhibitors from not only pre-press, printing and post-press, but also from prominent companies in the field of digital communications.

The theme of the exhibition will be “Venture into the Next! – Change the Future, Print is being changed.” In particular, IGAS 2018 will showcase technologies and solutions that are applicable to printing and cross-media communication. Moreover, the organisers are trying their best to attract more number of visitors from foreign countries, particularly from Asia.

The key events during the exhibition will include panel discussions and seminars, guided exhibition tours, the Theme Zone, the Small Start Zone, and the exhibition organized by the Japan Printing Exhibition (JPEX). In the panel discussions and seminars, various themes will be discussed from the standpoint of the brand owners. The themes will cover practical issues that are directly related to this business field: for example, the trends in the latest printing technologies, marketing activities for printing and cross-media communications, transformations in business operations, and new business projects.

There will also be professionally guided tours for participants. These tours will cover the key features of the IGAS. In addition, there will be a Theme Zones that includes the Flexography Zone, the Zone of the Tokyo Metropolitan Small and Medium Enterprise Support Center, the Research and Academic Zone for exhibiting next-generation printing technologies developed by various laboratories at universities, and the Zone of the Japan Color Certification Systems. In another zone called the Small Start Zone, special technologies and products, which mainly consist of compact and economical products that have been developed in response to today’s market where there is a rising demand for services based on smaller lots, will be exhibited, targeting small and medium-sized printing companies.

Furthermore, the JPEX will arrange an exhibit, in one place, of the print products awarded with prizes in the definitive print contests in Japan organized by the Japan Federation of Printing Industries (JFPI) and its 10 subsidiary organizations. The products to be displayed will include calendars, catalogs, book covers, packages, seals and labels, and universal media designs. The JPEX will also showcase the presentation panels of today’s printing industry in Japan.

Media conference participants

The ten companies at the media conference included Komori Corporation, Horizon International, Inc., RYOBI MHI Graphic Technology Ltd., FUJIFILM Global Graphic Systems Co., LTD., HP Inc., SCREEN Graphic Solution Co., Ltd., RICOH Co, Ltd., KONICA MINOLTA JAPAN, INC., Canon Inc. and Miyakoshi Printing Machinery Co., Ltd

Smart print factories on the anvil

Exhibitors at IGAS 2018 will see many of the industry’s leading equipment manufacturers focus on the smart factory concept where print production can be achieved with minimal or no staff. This concept is driven by the potential of cloud, maximises efficiencies, and reduces workforce. This will be depicted in Smart Factory Zone. A preview of the same was presented by companies like Komori, Horizon, RMGT (Ryobi), FujiFilm and Screen.

At IGAS, Komori will show a no-touch non-stop offset press, which will have complete makeready in just two minutes and can print three complete jobs in less than ten minutes. Operating reports are created automatically making cost management easy and possible to check production status when out of the office. One can also share changes to the schedule with the whole company. Preset data is automatically sent to the press while procedure video helps in promptly dealing with the problem.

RMGT (formerly Ryobi and Mitsubishi) focused on connecting industries, where humans, machines and technologies are connected across borders and generations and new value is generated continuously. They highlighted that the current total of 77 million working age Japanese will reduce to 50 million in just 30 years time. They believe that people will want to move out of manual work, which will lead to the smart factory, which is enabled thanks to the IoT, internet of things, and the cloud.

At IGAS, RMGT will showcase its B1 packaging press, which comes with parallel makeready and automated closed loop colour quality control. It will also showcase its SRA1 LED-UV commercial press, Ryobi says LED-UV uses 93 percent less power than standard UV.

While, Fujifilm will also focus on the smart factory concept, where Fujifilm digital inkjet presses will take centrestage. They will display JetPress 720S ink for food packaging and Jet Press 540WV roll fed UV inkjet press for soft packaging.

Horizon will showcase its intelligent end-to-end workflow system at its 1650 sqm booth. They will also display smart binding system, which will show production flow from printed reel to finished product, and features an intelligent workflow system, which includes automated set-up, variable production, tracking, recovery and integration to upstream.

HP highlighted its innovative products in digital printing and showcased that print is perfectly positioned to enable brands to meet their challenges of customer engagement, increasing spend, speed to market and security.

Screen focused on Industry 4.0, which means Differentiation by business model; Customisation and Personalisation;

Standardisation and Automation and Networked process chains. It offered value-added and automated solution to various printing applications using latest inkjet and EQUIOS ART and UX technology. The products on show will include Truepress Jet 520NX which is designed for multiple applications including newspapers, books, statements and direct mail, and Truepress Jet 520HD which is able to print directly onto offset coated stock thanks to its exclusive SC ink, which it says is the only aqueous ink that can print onto coated stock without the need to prime.

Digital print machinery manufacturers Ricoh, Konica Minolta and Canon all focused on the huge market potential of print outside of documents and marketing collateral.

Ricoh will showcase its new 95ppm Pro C7200S with fifth station, and its new digital sub $10,000 T-shirt printer Ri100.

Konica Minolta focused on advanced synergy by analogue & digital, wide-range applications and new business domain. Its theme at IGAS 2018 will be ‘Marketing Evolution with You,’ which says we can contribute to evolution of marketing through print, together with printing company, various internal business assets inside Konica Minolta and external business partners. The company will showcase its new B2 inkjet KM-1 AccurioJet with inline finishing. It will also have its MGI JetVarnish digital embellishment system, as well as its digital label press.

Canon sees digital packaging and signage growing rapidly, along with graphic arts printing. It will promote the smart factory concept through its Prisma workflow.

Miyakoshi will target new digital markets of flexible packaging, folding cartons, fabric, textiles and home decor. It will launch a high quality 1200x1200dpi water based inkjet press which will print at 200 metres a minute, and a new digital flexo press with the same resolution able to print between 12 and 150 micron film.

Visitors to IGAS will look forward to this Smart Factory concept.

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